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InsiderOnline Blog: August 2013

Article V Doesn’t Provide for “Conservative Only” Constitutional Conventions

For some very understandable reasons, some very important people in the conservative movement think the only way to rein in the federal government is with a constitutional convention as provided for under Article V of the Constitution. But don’t count Phillis Schlafly among the supporters of the idea. Proponents of an Article V convention, she writes, “are fooling themselves when they suggest that Article V creates a path to bypass Congress with a ‘convention of states’”:

The only power the states have under Article V is the opportunity to submit an “application” (petition) humbly beseeching Congress to call a convention. Hundreds of such applications have been submitted over the years, with widely different purposes and wording, many applications were later rescinded and some purport to make the application valid for only a particular amendment such as a federal balanced budget or congressional term limits.

Article V states that Congress “shall” call a convention on the application of two-thirds of state legislatures (34), but how will Congress count valid applications? We don’t know, and so far, Congress has ignored them anyway.

If Congress ever decides to act, Article V gives Congress exclusive power to issue the “Call” for a convention to propose “amendments” (note the plural). The Call is the governing document which determines all the basic rules such as where and when a convention will be held, who is eligible to be a delegate (will current office-holders be eligible?), how delegates will be apportioned, how expenses will be paid and who will be the chairman. […]

Article V doesn’t give any power to the states to propose constitutional amendments, or to decide which amendments will be considered by the convention. Article V doesn’t give any power to the courts to correct what does or does not happen.

Now imagine Democratic and Republican conventions meeting in the same hall and trying to agree on constitutional changes. Imagine the gridlock in drafting a constitutional plank by caucuses led by Sarah Palin and Al Sharpton. [Townhall.com, August 27]

Posted on 08/27/13 02:32 PM by Alex Adrianson

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